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Top content from across the community, hand-picked by us.

Important: Internet Explorer Support Ending
Internet Explorer will no longer be supported. Internet Explorer has been clinging to life for a lot longer than many anticipated. It uses an archaic rendering engine, has numerous vulnerabilities that impact both security and privacy, requires workarounds to get it to work with many websites, including ours, and has been surpassed by Microsoft's own newer Edge browsers (in two versions.)
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NHS Heroes
This is a brilliant and moving poem about our heroes in the NHS fighting the virus. The poem was heard on the radio and the creator of this video combined it with images of the crisis in our hospitals. Please stay safe everyone.
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Dates For Your Diaries
Some Astro show dates for your diary's.
European Astrofest 2020 :  Friday January 31 + Saturday February 1st      Kensington, London.  (yes, its early this year !)   Links below for full details :
Practical Astronomy Show 2020 :  Saturday 21 March 2020     Kettering     Show link and speaker info just released below :
International Astronomy Show 2020 :   Dates in November to be confirmed.   Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.   Link below to homepage for more info :
After 15 consecutive visits to Astrofest, i have decided to give it a miss this year 😓
Reasons include me being disappointed with the show in 2018 & 2019, the travel involved, as well as 2 other shows closer to home.
But i will definitely be at the PAS in March and almost certainly at the IAS in November as well.
I thought the PAS was excellent last year, and for a first show for them, they hit the ground running and its all for free !!
@Derbyshire Dave : you may be interested in the 'APT' talk ?
Hopefully i'll see some of you there in Kettering ??  
Regards, Rob 😀
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Ibbo's IC 405
Really needs more data
3 x 1800 S2
3 x 1800 Ha
1x 1800 O3
Tak102 reduced to 5.7
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Prism Shoot Out
I decided on a shoot-out with two conventional 1.25" prism diagonals: a Takahashi TAKSD1 and a Baader Planetarium T-2. The telescope used was an Orion 90mm StarMax Maksutov.

Baader Planetarium Prism Diagonal T-2/90deg and Takahashi TAKSD1
These two prism diagonals were also compared against a third which is a 1.25" Baader Zeiss Amici (also equipped with a helical focuser).

Baader Zeiss Amici
The target was primarily a setting twilight Venus, although I also intended to view Saturn as it was in conjunction with Venus on the 11th of December. I didn’t have much time before both planets were too low so I primarily used an 18mm Astro Hutech, giving 69x. Venus was very bright and easily seen early on with a 25mm AH orthoscopic. For Venus I also employed a Baader Double Polarising filter.

Venus/Saturn conjunction
The Tak’ was up first.

It is a lightweight diagonal and I have read reviews stating that the housing is plastic. I'm pretty sure it isn't and is a light metal alloy or possibly aluminium. I'm not so sure about the base plate, but I'm not totally convinced it isn’t also metal. It could very well be be a hard type of plastic. Unlike the Baader diagonals there is no filter thread in the nosepiece. Some have complained about the Tak's plastic collet snagging undercuts. I haven’t had any real problems although it helps if you use smoothies and barrels with shallow undercuts or those with lower lip flares (GSO, Tele Vue). The TAKSD1 gave a bright, sharp image with no light scatter and easily revealed the Venusian phase. The conventional Baader was next, followed by the Amici. Apart from the mirror reversing I could tell no difference between the Tak’ and the Amici. There was no hint of the prism roof with the Zeiss Amici. The Baader Planetarium T-2 also gave a sharp image, although I thought it was fractionally darker.

The amount was almost imperceptible though and may have been my imagination. As Saturn became more prominent I switched all three to that.

I can't choose a real winner. The Takahashi gave a bright, sharp image as did the Baader Zeiss Amici. The Baader bog-standard wasn't really any different and had the advantage over the Tak' of having a helical focuser. The Takahashi and standard Baader diagonals are about the same price.
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3 Months' Meteor Hits
Meteor detection counts September - November 2019
Although I've not really posted any results, my meteor detector has been running since mid August without too many major issues.  It's tucked away in a corner and I often forget it's still running.
I've finally got around to updating my spreadsheet from the data automatically captured by the Spectrum Lab RMOB files.
I had a few problems in September with local interference causing some crazy readings (hundreds per hour in some cases), i zeroed out those that were obviously wrong.
I'm fairly certain some of it was due to heavy electrical equipment being used over the road and in direct line of sight of the antenna.
October and November were both much better with good levels of hits per day and no problems from external interference.



I've seen posts on the RMOB facebook page of people detecting Elon Musk's Starlink chain as it goes over Southern France.
I've checked my captures and not seen anything that I can link to the pass times ...... which is good as I don't actually want them!
Current RMOB data for December:  This is live so will update each hour with the latest results.

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Dave's Mr Blobby
Very, very rarely do I have a go at the moon, but it was so prominent last night I had a go at 18:30. Plan was to go to an observatory meeting and then come back and go deep sky. When I git back it had all gone ☹️
Still, pleased with this, 500 frames on the ASI183MM through the GT81, processed in Autostakkert and Registax..
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Picture of the Month
Picture of the Month November 2019
A poor month clear sky wise unfortunately but some hardy folk have been out there catching photons, well done all.
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Merry Xmas or Bah Humbug?
We've made a few festive tweaks to the forum to celebrate the festive season: twinkling lights, a snowy logo and falling snow. 🎅🏻 Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
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Hubble image / Todays 'APOD' - Hoag's object PGC 54599
Anyone follow Nasa's 'Astronomy picture of the day" ?
If you don't i thought i'd share todays image with you.
What an amazing object, from the Amazing Hubble Space Telescope !
It's known as Hoag's object or Hoag's galazy.
Its very faint at Magnitude 16 and is located in the constellation of Serpens, and is a mere 600 million light years away.
It doesn't have NGC classification and is listed as PGC (Principle galaxy catalogue) 54599
If only i could see something like that from my own telescope ?!! 😀🔭

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Seven Sisters
I bagged a bonus 4hrs last night to top up my data on M45 - The Pleiades. It's coming along nicely. Starting to see the surrounding dust. 7.5hrs total up to now. Pure RGB with my Redcat \ Canon 450d combo.
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Happy Halloween
 Had major issue with the laptop dying last week. Thankfully a replacement motherboard sorted it, or I would have been stuffed for EMS5!.
 So, having played with SGPro at Kelling for the first time, including autofocus on filter changes, I was keen to try it out at home. This is a single evenings images. Only 8x10 minute exposures on each of the Sii, Ha, and Oiii filters, so noise could be a bit better. Still, very pleased to have got this in one evening..
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Heart Nebula
This was taken last night through constant high cloud.
Considering the conditions I am amazed it turned out like it did.
600 second subs in HA, OIII and SII with a combined total time of 7 hours.
Williams Optics GT 81 with 0.6 FR /FF.
QSI 683 WSG.
Captured and stacked in Maxim.
Beaten into submission in PS 6.
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Steve's M31 LRGB
Ts 71 lrgb from Kelling and home
I will try to get some ha before I call this finished.
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Pickering’s Triangle
Almost forgot I’d done this one 😁 C8 & Hyperstar and just over 2 hrs integration. Hope you like it
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Sadr, Butterfly and Crescent
Hi everyone - I shot this with my Canon 5D MkII, Redcat scope and Altair astro Quadband OSC filter just before my holiday. Still catching up on my proceessing backlog. Just over 3 hrs integration of 2 min subs @ ISO 1600
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This was a double stack/stitch composed from about 150 frames with my Mak and DSLR. Focal length was about 4.6m, ISO 100 and 1/25 second exposure.
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Here Be Dragons
42 x 1800 secs in Ha with the TS 71 and QSI cam.
2 nights from kelling and 6 from home.
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Heart and Soul Nebula
I shot this just before my trip to Tenerife so I'm just catching up with my processing. Redcat 51 plus Canon 5D and Altair Astro Quadband filter did the trick for this wide field view of these 2 tagets. just over 4 hrs of data processed in Pixinsight and PSCC. Cheers ??
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Aperture envy, anyone?
Imagine what you could see or image with this!
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Steve's Stunning M31
Managed to almost beat the colour into submission
20 x 120 L 10 x 60 RGB
TS 71 IS and QSI cam
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Superb Solar Imaging
Slightly different processing today.
Annoyingly the NR's are back but that could be tuning slightly off or the seeing.
Lunt 60 mm Chameleon cam
Might need a click or 3 for full res where the NR's don't look so bad.

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Just a bit of fun!
Had a quick Lunar session with the new scope.
Very wobbly seeing so focusing was a challange.
Not a serious image ; just a bit of fun really.
140mm refractor on the DM6.
Prime focus Canon 6D2, 1/125,  iso 800  and a few tweaks done in Mac Photos.
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Cocoon Nebula at Kelling
Another image from Kelling which didn't come without gremlins aplenty, but i surprisingly did manage to get 4 hours of data despite it all.
1st night, Duo-Narrowband combined with the second of RGB.

C&C welcome.
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Steve's Kelling M31
20 x 120 s TS71 QSI cam
hopefully colour to follow if I can beta it into submission.
Itmight need a click or 2.
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